These days, no one questions your desire to find good-looking, economical, sustainable, energy-saving fixtures and materials for your home. Despite what Kermit the Frog may say, it’s not so hard to be “green” these days!
If you’re planning a kitchen remodel for your Chicago suburban home, what are some of the best ways to incorporate that philosophy?
Concentrate on Space
Most kitchen remodels evolve out of a need for a more efficient floor plan and a desire for a kitchen that performs like a champ. Take a look at your existing space, but know that bigger isn’t always better. Part of being sustainable is the ability to use space wisely. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box without making the box bigger!
Let the Light Shine In
If your kitchen has small windows, go big and bright! Install a large window over the sink or add a bay window, French doors or a glass slider to enlarge the space and expands the vistas. Consider a skylight if wall space is precious or if your kitchen doesn’t have a view. Aim for lots of daylight in the workspace to reduce the need for lighting during the day. It’s a spirit booster as well as a smart way to save energy! Just be certain your new windows and doors are insulated and energy efficient.
Use Sustainable Materials
Investigate how to use fast-growing cork and bamboo in your kitchen, for both flooring and cabinets. But, also focus on sustainable, smart choices for counters and lighting. You’ll find an enormous variety of recycled materials for kitchen applications — think glass, paper and metals for starters. Wood, a traditional choice for cabinets and countertops, is newly popular and available from sustainable forests. Some woods are also a great choice for long-lasting, hard-working counters — trendy, efficient and beautiful.
Keep the Charm
Repurpose older cabinets if possible rather than toting them to the trash. Think about going for the “unmatched” look so popular in European kitchens. As you rethink your workspace, analyze your storage and food prep needs as well as the traffic flow and the ambience. Carve a walk-in pantry out of a back porch, or install a planning desk in a former broom closet. Enlarge a small island or add a cabinet to be used as a baking center or snack station. Be inventive. Reuse an older prep sink, but add a new faucet. Incorporate tilt-out vegetable bins into a sleek new island, or find space between the studs for a handy spice rack.
Reuse and Recycle
Even if you plan to totally gut your kitchen and start anew, there might be some perfectly good elements to weave into the new kitchen. Find creative ways to use an older storage cabinet, to add a cookbook shelf or a display cabinet, to highlight a treasured collection of vintage kitchen tools. Save a piece of marble or granite to top a small table; add a built-in cutting board fabricated from older wood counters. Add an oversize counter to an existing peninsula and slide stools underneath.
Make Good Choices
Insist on Energy-Star appliances, low water use faucets and “green materials” for your kitchen. Both manufactured and natural materials can be sustainable and budget friendly. When making your choices, know that wise decisions will save you money on utility bills, make your life more pleasant and help save the planet as well.
If you have questions about kitchen trends, visit The Kitchen Master’s 4,000 square foot showroom in Naperville to see what’s new and beautiful. May we schedule an appointment for a personal consultation? We’ve been helping area homeowners with their kitchen remodels for decades!